Arecent business survey conducted by the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce (GOCC) indicated local government needs to be more business friendly and work needs to be done to address the competitiveness of the business climate in Oshawa and Durham Region compared to other cities and regions.
In early January the Policy Committees of the GOCC put together an Economic Outlook Survey to weigh the economic climate in Oshawa and Durham Region for 2013. In total nine per cent of the Chamber membership responded to the on-line survey, with 72% of respondents being in the 1-50 employee range and 21.1% with over 100 employees. The information compiled will assist the Chamber to better understand the issues of concern to the business community and help set the policy direction for the coming year.
To improve the business climate in Oshawa and Durham Region businesses indicated a more pro-business approach was needed and the level of property tax, gridlock, red tape and regulations was of concern. Respondents felt the number one factor in driving the economic prosperity and increasing employment in Oshawa & Durham Region is the attraction of more large companies to Oshawa followed closely by attracting more smaller companies.
On the positive side there was a clear indication from respondents that they felt their business would perform better or about the same as 2012. Over 34% respondents with more than 3 employees felt employment levels in 2013 will be higher than in 2012. However, the biggest factors impacting how business performs in the coming year was consumer confidence, followed by government red tape and political uncertainty. The biggest impact to operating costs on how a business will perform was the employment costs which include WSIB, EI, health tax, followed by capital spending, technology and transportation costs.
In December, the Oshawa CMA unemployment rate rose to 9.5%, while Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 7.1% (the lowest in four years) and the provincial average was 8.0%.
As part of the survey six statements were posed with respect to economic issues impacting Oshawa and Durham Region.
Respondents to the statements agreed that the attraction of manufacturing companies should be a key focus for economic development and job creation in Durham Region and that the Port of Oshawa, the extension of the Oshawa Airport Runway and the Nuclear New Build at Darlington has the potential to attract new business and will act as a catalyst for economic growth in Durham.
Attracting innovative businesses, having a tax friendly environment for business, employment levels and residential property tax rates topped the list of the most important issues that needed to be addressed in Oshawa. When it comes to future economic development growth in Durham Region the top five issues that respondents felt were key to growth were the Hwy 407 Extension to 35/115, manufacturing, Hwy 401 Widening, Nuclear Energy and Metrolinx.
For close to 85 years, the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce has been fostering an environment in which Oshawa and Durham Region business can prosper and it has worked hard to position itself as the Voice of Business.